Indian and Israeli agriculture scientists are to work on pilot projects to try out micro-irrigation, waste water management, and methods to raise vegetables and fruits in Madhya Pradesh.
They will also help the state to popularise community farming by grouping farmers holding small plots for maximising production.
A number of projects are to be tried out first in the farms owned by the state government, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan told Hindustan Times.
Chouhan, who returned from a three-day visit to Israel, said some projects were identified during discussions he had with Israeli officials.
These projects would be implemented under a three-year work plan for cooperation in agriculture, which was signed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and his Israeli counterpart Shalom Simhon last year.
Chouhan said he was shown around different areas in that country where micro irrigation, cycling of waster water, animal husbandry management in semi-arid areas were a success.
He said he visited villages where the kibbutz system of community farming had seen improvement in the living standards of people, along with measures to protect the environment.
Chouhan said Israel is a world leader in the development of drip irrigation, a technique by which relatively small amounts of water are delivered directly to the roots of plants. Sensors linked to central computers control the flow of water.
“Madhya Pradesh has vast areas where water is scarce. Israel has developed innovative ways of making every drop count. We would like to see the Israeli achievements to see if they can be replicated in our state.”
He said these techniques have the further advantage of reducing adverse environmental impacts associated with continuous irrigation, such as increased salination. “By enabling farmers to deliver precise quantities of fertilizers as well as water directly to the plant, fertilizer contamination of soils and groundwater is also reduced. Also, 80 per cent of the water used in agriculture in Israel is recycled wastewater.”
Chouhan joined the league of BJP Chief Ministers — Narendra Modi (Gujarat) and Vasundhara Raje (Rajasthan) – who visited the country last year.
Chouhan saids he was not motivated by Modi or Raje but by the Israeli envoy to India who wanted him to see the achievements of that country in the field of water management. Not it has anything to do with the BJP’s softness towards Israel.
In May last year, Modi and Raje were in Israel when Pawar signed a three-year work plan for cooperation in agriculture. In October last year, Modi organized a tour of Israel by the MLAs.